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Growth and Foliar Nutrition of Douglas-Fir Seedlings Provided with Supplemental Polymer-Coated Fertilizer

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Polymer-coated fertilizer (PCF) provides a potential means to optimize nutrient delivery for plant uptake, while minimizing leaching. Coating technology varies by manufacturer, which may alter patterns of nutrient release over time among comparable products. Three months following sowing, Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco) seedlings were transplanted into containers with Osmocote Plus (OS) (15-9-12) and Apex (AP) (16-5-9) PCF (each with 5–6 month longevity) applied at four rates (0, 600, 1200, and 1800 mg total N per seedling) as a supplement to periodic addition of conventional water-soluble fertilizer. Seedlings fertilized with OS had 11% greater stem diameter growth during the first 4 months after transplant than those fertilized with AP, but differences were negligible after 9 months. After 4 months, foliar concentrations were 11% higher for N and 10% higher for P in seedlings fertilized with AP, although contents were the same. These results suggest that different PCF types have variable temporal patterns of nutrient release, which may affect seedling development over time. Differences among products must be understood by growers to help formulate fertilizer prescriptions that optimize plant response. Seedling response varied marginally among PCF rates, suggesting little benefit to PCF when used in conjunction with water-soluble fertilizer. West. J. Appl. For. 20(1):58–63.

Keywords: Controlled-release fertilizer; Pseudotsuga menziesii; container nursery; environmental management; forest; forest management; forest resources; forestry; forestry research; forestry science; natural resource management; natural resources; reforestation; seedling nutrition

Document Type: Regular Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Forest Science Oregon State University Corvallis OR 97331-5752 Phone: (765) 494-3608; Current Address: Hardwood Tree Improvement and Regeneration Center (HTIRC), Department of Forestry and Natural Resources Purdue University West Lafayette IN 47907-2061, Fax: (765) 494-9461, Email: 2: Department of Forest Science Oregon State University Corvallis OR 97331-5752

Publication date: January 1, 2005

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  • Each regional journal of applied forestry focuses on research, practice, and techniques targeted to foresters and allied professionals in specific regions of the United States and Canada. The Western Journal of Applied Forestry covers the western United States, including Alaska, and western Canada; WJAF will also consider manuscripts reporting research in northern Mexico that has potential application in the southwestern United States.
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